Rows of sensors on an eel’s head, known as lateral lines, help the eel detect water movement and therefore find its prey.
Top: There are two types of sensor, visible as light or dark spots on this shortfin eel head. The light spots are small bumps on the skin, exposed to flowing water. Sensors within the bumps detect how much they bend under the water flow, and send the information to the eel’s brain. The dark spots are pores inside fluid-filled canals. This fluid is slightly more viscous than water. Pressure changes caused by flowing water are transferred to the fluid, and sensors on the skin within the canal pore detect this.
Bottom: The two types of sensor, on the nose of a glass eel, are magnified 48 times.
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